Duncan, one for you. Uh….Doesn’t John 3:5 clearly say born of water and of spirit? What does spirit refer to here, if not Holy Spirit gifts?
Thank you. If you have your Bibles, you may like to just remind yourselves of the passage there in John 3. Clearly the Lord is alluding there (“born of water”) to water baptism. But I think what he’s saying is that water baptism alone is not enough to guarantee salvation, entry to the Kingdom. He says that one’s got to be born of water and of the spirit and then they will enter the Kingdom of God. It seems to me that the 1st of Peter, chapter 1 alludes to this and defines in more depth, what it is to be born again. And there we read that we’re born again by the Word of God. Um…1st of Peter 1:22 –23, he talks about obeying the truth, through the spirit, (23) being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God. So then the Word of God is what brings forth the new birth according to 1st Peter 1:22-23. In John 3 we’re told it’s the spirit that brings forth the new birth, so then the two things must be related. And I showed a whole overhead slide where the spirit of God is now working through the Word of God. So what does this mean? It’s not enough to be simply baptized. There must also be the spiritual rebirth before one can enter the Kingdom. And I think that there’s a sort of an analogy being used here. That we are born again in the sense that we are conceived (that’s the language of 1st of Peter 1). We are conceived in this life by the spirit of God, through the Word of God. When the Lord Jesus comes, and then we enter the Kingdom, we are then born out of spirit into that Kingdom. So now we’re as it were in the womb. We’re developing, we’re growing. And when the Lord comes, we will then be born in the sense that we’ll come out as real people into the Kingdom. Because as James 2:5 says, “We are now heirs of the Kingdom which God hath promised to them that love Him.” The Kingdom of God in it’s full political sense is not now established. We’re going to receive it. We are promised it. When Jesus comes, then the Kingdom of God is going to be established. So then, we don’t fully enter the Kingdom of God now, in this life. It’s quite clear the Kingdom of God is not now fully here. The Lord Jesus is not reigning in Jerusalem. So then, we’re born of water by baptism, born again, in that sense, by baptism. We’re conceived of the spirit, begotten of the spirit, in that sense, according to the 1st of Peter 1:23 in that the Word of God takes root in us and starts to develop us and gives us new life internally. And yet we’re still growing, as it were, in this kind of figure that’s being used, within the womb. And when our Lord Jesus returns, then we are fully born of the spirit and thereby enter into the Kingdom of God.
Now it seems to me that the word “spirit” whenever it occurs in the New Testament is being read by some as meaning Holy Spirit gifts. But it really can’t be like that. There are all these passages which clearly parallel the Spirit of God with the Word of God. And it’s not so that every time the word spirit occurs that it’s automatically talking about something miraculous. For example, as we’ve said, “If any many hath not the spirit of Christ, he’s none of his”. He’s talking about the mind of the Lord Jesus, the disposition that is in him. Thank you.